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A couple months ago, I went on a diet primarily consisting of Nutraloaf (with Tabasco or other flavor-adding sauces) for meals, and sunflower seeds for occasional snacking. Three weeks in, I started experiencing some digestive problems and a general malaise, and my doctor referred me to a nutritionist. Long story short, my diet was seriously lacking in fiber.

I've found psyllium husk fiber to be far superior to traditional options, and have since been consuming it as a daily supplement. What I'd like to do, however, is integrate it into my cooking. There is a serious dearth of psyllium husk-based recipes on the Internet, which leads me to query the experts here.

How should I go about modifying my recipes to use psyllium husk? Also, should I worry about heating psyllium husk, and possibly changes its digestive qualities?

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Did the nutritionist seriously say "you're getting everything you need, except fiber"? –  Jefromi Feb 16 '11 at 5:41
    
@Jefromi she did not "approve" my diet per se, but she did say that I should be fine, and that I'm better off than the traditional American diet (fast food, high-fat, processed, etc). –  JJ Caldwell Feb 16 '11 at 14:36
    
@JJ: Ah, okay. I'm wondering if even once you solve your fiber problem you might be left with some malaise, if there's some other missing nutrient. –  Jefromi Feb 16 '11 at 14:57
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Nutraloaf?!? Isn't that what recalcitrant prisoners are forced to eat? –  Doug Feb 16 '11 at 15:23
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Not as any form of answer to cooking with psyllium husk, but to the fiber problem... eat an avocado every day. 1 avocado has ~8.5g fiber, and tastes a ton better than the 2tbsp (psyllium husk has 4g fiber/tbsp) of psyllium husk will... –  Nathan Wheeler Feb 24 '11 at 22:45
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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'm guessing that you should be able to simply add it wherever you would add some sort of grain or flour. The wikipedia article mentions:

Other uses include gluten-free baking, where ground psyllium seed husks bind moisture and help make the bread less crumbly.

If you add some to your Nutraloaf, if it's enough to have an effect, it'll help it bind together and absorb some moisture. You might have to add some more liquid to cancel that out, if you find that the result ends up too dry, but otherwise it should be fine. Cooking isn't going to destroy the fiber.

I'd also note that you don't necessarily have to go all-out on the fiber: there's plenty in other grains, too, like oats. You might decide that you simply like it better with a different fiber - justkt suggested a few in the comments; thanks! And I know you're not exactly looking for variety here, but I might as well suggest it. You really could get a little bit of variety for minimal effort, say by adding in a different canned or frozen vegetable each time you make it, or by varying the source of fiber.

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+1 for answering the question. I second the suggestion of the other fibers. Mashed sweet potato, whole rolled oats, and cooked brown rice are some of the best sources of fiber out there. –  justkt Feb 16 '11 at 16:25
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Psyllium husks are traditional used as a thickening agent and can be added to soups and stews to make them have a creamier consistency.

I personally make my pysllium into little muffins which taste great on a lowcarb diet. The finished result should be eaten over 3 days until your body adjusts to the pysllium, otherwise it could cause cramping later on if you ate it all at once.

1 tbsp psyllium husks 1 egg 1 tsp baking powder 3 tbsp baking stevia or sugar 1 tbsp greek yogurt

Mix together, pour into muffin pan (make them shallow) and bake at 350 for 20 mins.

I also like to add 1 to 2 tbsp of sugar free maple syrup which makes them taste like pancakes.

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I'd like to ask, is this for one muffin? –  user22526 Jan 13 at 18:49
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That Nutraloaf recipe is appalling both in philosophy and implementation.

If you eat a wholesome, varied diet there should be no need to supplement it with stuff like this - if your diet is making you feel ill and your nutritionist disapproves it might be time to switch to a diet consisting mostly of freshly cooked vegetables, plenty of pulses, cereals, wholemeal rice/breads/wholemeal pasta (if you can bear it) and get your protein from fish and not too much lean meat.

EDIT:

If you absolutely must eat the husk, its probably most palatable in tablet or easily swallowed form. Remember to drink plenty of water if you do eat - it has been known to cause intestinal obstruction. I've heard of the elderly and constipated sprinkling it onto foods - ideally those with a strong taste and a bit of liquid to them e.g. vegetable curries.

I'm intrigued as to why you want to eat this stuff - most people who do are taking it to lower cholesterol or as part of a less-than-sensible crash diet. Your Nutraloaf recipe, based as it is on all that beef, suggests you're not concerned with cholesterol or major weight loss ...

EDIT #2:

I am not alone in my rejection of 'Nutraloaf' :

EDIT #3

Just saw the [gluten-free] tag so resorting to psyllium Husk makes more sense now - but there are better ways of eating tasty gluten-free food :-)

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@5arx - while I agree with this sentiment, this isn't an answer per se. –  justkt Feb 16 '11 at 16:25
    
@JustKT - I take your point and have updated my answer accordingly. –  5arx Feb 16 '11 at 16:36
    
@5arx - awesome, thanks. –  justkt Feb 16 '11 at 16:46
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I'd actually like to see all the "anti-Nutraloaf" content go away here. I think it's appalling too, but there was plenty of this going around when the topic of Nutraloaf first came up a couple of months ago. If it's appropriate at all, it's good at a comment on the question maybe, but I'd keep it out of answers as it has nothing to do with cooking w/psyllium husk. –  bikeboy389 Feb 20 '11 at 14:32
    
I don't think it's fair to say that Nutraloaf is appalling - it's more neutral and has no flavor. –  JJ Caldwell Feb 22 '11 at 1:09
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I use psyllium powder. Take a tablespoon of psyllium and add enough water to make a paste. Mash in a banana. Top with Chia seeds or your favorite nuts and enjoy! If you can't have banana, try a different fruit, or maybe even mix the psyllium into some mashed veggies.

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Would you suggest that he add the whole banana/psyllium/chia concoction to his existing recipe? –  sourd'oh Jan 13 at 18:52
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I love adding ground psyillium to my coffee. 1 or 2 teaspoons to a full cup. It is much much better than those crappy fake orange flavored sugared fiber laxatives I tried to take before discovering psyillium. (My Coffee Recipe: every morning I make my coffee and instead of milk and creamers, I add psyllium, 1/8 cup coconut milk instead of milk or soy, and cocoa powder and when I want a little sweetness, I use Truvia or Stevia, NOT sugar or other sweeteners).

I have transformed my diet to a mostly primal/paleo diet, so am actually getting quite a bit of fiber, but I have a lower back injury and one of the side effects is continual problems with constipation. Adding Psyllium has helped that a lot - though I should say that for normal people without special circumstances (i.e. if I did not have this back injury) - if a person is eating sufficient amounts of vegetables (6 to 8 servings a day) and some fruit every day (my goal is weight loss, so picky about fruit I eat, and quantities - choosing berries, tomatoes, avocados, and the fruits highest in nutrition/benefits).

Here is a paleo bread recipe I found that I have been experimenting with/changed a bit - by adding psyllium to

Bread 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour 2 tablespoons coconut flour 1/4 cup ground flaxseed 1/8 cup of ground psyllium 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 5 eggs 1/4 cup of water (this one you might have to play with a little 1/4 cup coconut oil 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, psyllium, salt and baking soda in a bowl and blend together (if you have a food processor, pulse) Mix (or Pulse) in eggs, water, oil, honey and vinegar Pour batter into a greased small greased (coconut oil is good) bread pan Bake at 350° for 30 minutes Cool and serve

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